The Need

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 09 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

Loved the premise and the twist of this book. I thought it was well written and an easy and engaging read. I am a little disappointed with the ending and wish there was more clarity.
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This capsule review appeared in the Toronto Star on July 13.

https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/books/2019/07/16/families-become-entangled-in-crime-and-mystery-in-these-hot-summer-thrillers.html

The Need, Helen Phillips
Here we have a surpassingly strange novel, about motherhood and empathy and perception. Molly is a paleobotanist, the mother of Viv, 4, and Ben, 1, working a site that has yielded several slightly offartifacts. Things are off at home, too, especially after someone wearing a deer’s head emerges one evening from a toy chest in the living room. Not really a psychological thriller, as the publicity suggests, and perhaps uncategorizable. Beautifully written, filled with interesting asides.
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have to say, it took me some time to write my review of this book. This was one of those books I needed to sit with and digest after finishing. The more I thought about it, the more I liked it.

Molly is a mother of two young children. Her husband travels for his work, leaving Molly to juggle the demands of motherhood and her own career as a paleobotanist. 

When Molly hears footsteps in the house she initially dismisses it as the workings of her fatigued mind, but then she catches a glimpse of movement out of the corner of her eye and she knows she is not alone in the house with her children.

Molly is desperate to protect her children from the intruder, but can you defend against someone who seems to know absolutely everything about you?

The story was unique and imaginative. Phillip's has created a story that spoke to the mother in me and really gave her the creeps.
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I got into this book very quickly.  I was hooked with the home intruder plot line.  However, the plot quickly shifted to science fiction and I simply couldn’t get into that story line.  I was taken aback that this was sci-fi as it was listed as thriller.  Overall, it was a quick and ok read.  Recommended for those who enjoy science fiction. 

*I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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This book was one GIANT what on earth is even happening!
It started out as a thriller, then turned sci-fi, then went contemporary. 
I was totally enthralled for the first 20% of the book... until the plot completely shifts and turns weird sci-fi, then the whole book lost its touch to me. I found myself rereading parts because it was very confusing. There were plenty of plot holes that weren’t even explored which I find rather frustrating.
The epilogue was probably the biggest disappointment of the whole book to me. It really fell flat and didn’t tie anything up the way I feel an epilogue should!
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2.5 stars

I really don’t know what to think of this book! About 1/3 of the way through it takes a turn from an ‘intruder in the house thriller’ to something completely unexpected. I’m really not against a total turn in plot/genre (in fact I was excited when it happened!) but felt that after that the story really fell flat. I couldn’t make a connection to the character and empathize with her and more often than not, I do really like endings that leave things up for interpretation for the reader, but this one just didn’t do it for me.

Thanks to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster Canada for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Darn it! I was fooled yet again by the misleading description. ***THIS IS NOT A THRILLER! I would describe this book as speculative fiction so if you're looking for a 100% pure adrenaline, heart pounding thriller...look elsewhere!

The first part of this story is fantastic! It is gripping, heartpounding and mysterious. There is an early reveal that knocked me RIGHT OFF MY FEET! But then....it fizzles...like "air out of the balloon" fizzles. It delves into speculation and motherhood. It's like stepping into the twilight zone.

I've read some other reviews and would agree there is lots to discuss in this book. For example,  what the heck happened at the end??? I honestly couldn't tell you!! It's left up to the reader's interpretation. 

If the struggles of early motherhood is of interest to you and you enjoy interpreting the hidden meaning behind tropes, then this book is the perfect read. It delves into those sleepless nights, monotonous days and deepest fears that accompany this particular time in life using a compelling  plot framework. Although the beginning of the story might have you thinking horror, thriller or sci fi, it is none of these genres. It is about the blur between reality and fantasy during those early years of motherhood.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and Netgalley for an ARC.
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3.5 stars - Philips did her job well; this was extremely thrilling, I could not put it down and read all of this today. It was gripping and atmospheric, I was creeped out throughout the entire read. It really used the “motherhood is scary trope” in an interesting way that I had never seen before: she was creepy, her home was creepy, her children were creepy. Everything that happened felt so real that my home started to scare me. I was completely enthralled by the novel until it’s ending, which left me with such a disappointing taste for the novel. Regardless of my dissatisfaction, I think this short, quick novel is worth the read.
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Well.... I don’t really know how to rate or review this book. I was anticipating a “there’s someone inside of my house” thriller and this was NOT AT ALL this. I normally adore strange books with lots of wtf twists but this was too far fetched for me. The first 50-100 pages were amazing and I wish the author followed the thriller plot line. However, the book took a strange sci fi turn and I was not happy about it. I do enjoy the idea of an author breaching the barriers of contemporary genres and trying something new and genre bending but it was too out of left field for me.  Glad I did not purchase this when I was it released early in stores. Sorry, but it wasn’t for me.
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This book started off so good. It was confusing but in a delightful way. I found myself saying, "what is going on?!" so many times throughout the first 1/3 of the book and I was so excited to see what happened next. Unfortunately, the payoffs and the reveals weren't exciting or interesting which let me down. I found the whole concept of what was going on with the storyline extremely intriguing and I wanted more but instead, the story focused more on the motherhood of the main character. Since I am not a mother, I was not able to connect to the main character's struggles and therefore I was not able to connect to the last 2/3 of the book. However, I think if you are someone who is concerned about families then you might really like this book!
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Sometimes going into a book blind can be a hit or miss. Usually for me it's a hit but unfortunately this one was a miss. I didn't fully understand what exactly I was reading. The book wasnt bad, dont get me wrong, it just wasn't for me!! That being said I see so many reviews from other people that absolutely loved it. So I would reccomend this book to others, I would just maybe suggest reading what its about beforehand. 

Thank you so much Simon & Schuster Canada for accepting my request to read and review this book on netgalley
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The Need by Helen Phillips is a skin crawling thriller about motherhood and the lengths a devoted mother will go to to be with her children. Although the novel hints at sci-fi elements such as alternative realities and travel through them, ultimately this is a novel about motherhood. As someone who is not a mother and doesn’t wish to be one, I found Phillips’ portrayal of motherhood as particularly gory, intrusive, and disturbing. I did not experience any particularly fuzzy feelings towards young Viv and Ben, and struggled to relate to Molly’s constant longing for them. I found Phillips’ portrayal of motherhood to be in a similar vein to Slimani’s in The Perfect Nanny. 

The Need is very well written. Although I could not relate to Molly’s motivations, I could understand them. It’s pace was good, the characters well rounded and interesting, and the conclusion was both satisfying yet open ended which I enjoy.  Fans of The Perfect Nanny will enjoy The Need as well.
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The Need is a tough to describe story and it is best discovered without knowing too much about it. 

Molly is so tired, she’s pulled in many directions between her job as a paleobotanist, her husband, and her two kids. She is home alone with the kids when she thinks that she’s heard footsteps....or did she? The story picks up quickly and there is a lot of tension throughout the book. Some twists are expected and then others...not so much. And then you reach the end and have to wonder: what happened? Was that just a fever dream? Whatever it was, I'm glad to have read it.

Thanks to the author, Simon & Schuster, and NetGalley for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
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I tried my best to go into this blind, as the only few things I read prior to picking this up suggested that. I'm glad I did. It made the whole eerie essence of this far more suspenseful. 

This was quite short, and quite strange. But also quite fascinating. I'm not entirely sure what I feel after having consumed it in one sitting. It filled me with anxiety and stress and fear. It was prominently about motherhood, something I don't have first hand experience with, but something I have a gut wrenching fear of, so it resonated deeply and personified a lot of those internal fears for me.

This is very much an open to interpretation kind of book. There aren't a ton of answers in the end and I was left with some confusion and uncertainties. It reminded me of a few other pieces of work I've come across, but it was also very much an idea all on it's own.

This is a hard one to rate. I devoured it, but it also didn't really leave me with much in the end aside from a somewhat mundane 'huh'. But it was definitely not what I was expecting, pleasantly surprising. And it was well written and very vivid. 

I'd say take a chance on it if you're able to remain open about it and not have many expectations going into it. It was definitely a fascinating read and the pace is pretty consistent, so it doesn't feel like it drags or loses it's rhythm.
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The Need by Helen Phillips
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If this is one of those polarizing books people are talking about, I think I may fall into that meh category. I felt the same way about Baby Teeth, too.

Yes, motherhood. Fear for the kids. Maybe not *fearing* the kids, but this is one of those "immerse you in the realities of motherhood" thrillers that then get... strange.

I don't mind strange. I like strange. The stranger, wilder, the better. Give me something new, glorious... oh... well... This is a thing. Motherhood thrillers. Psychopathic tendencies. Split personalities. It's a THING. The new, common, utterly replaceable Thing. I remember Cujo. Do you remember Cujo?

Well, this isn't Cujo. By the mid-point I kept saying to myself... cuckoo... cuckoo... and that's not all that bad, in general, but when I keep reading the same themes over and over a grand majority of the thrillers I do read, I wonder if I'm hitting a rough spot. A spot where they all start running together.

Is the market really demanding this?

Well. I'm sorry to say, I was meh'd.
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This book is very hard to review without giving away spoilers.
I wouldn't say I loved this book but I didn't hate it either.
The concept of this book was actually very good.  I love books that deal with the chance that there are other futures for us in other worlds. 
I sometimes found the writing a bit confusing, making me have to go back forth to try and establish what was being said.
And the end was very confusing for me as well.  I suppose it's up for interpretation.
The writing style wasn't really mine, but I got thru it with the idea of what the writer was trying to do.  I think that there will be lots of people that will enjoy this book if this is their genre.
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Thank you to the publisher (Simon & Schuster) and NetGalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair review. 
The Need is a good, short suspense thriller with enough twists to keep you guessing. Molly is a paleobiologist by day, and a sleep deprived working mother of two small children by night. She's recently found a series of inexplicable objects at her latest dig site, which have gathered attention from the public. One evening at home, she hears an intruder in her house... An intruder who knows far too much about Molly and what she might do next. I would describe this story as a mash-up of Divergence (Blake Crouch) and Lab Girl (Hope Jahren). I look forward to reading more by Helen Phillips.
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I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  			
			
From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.			

From the award-winning author of The Beautiful Bureaucrat, comes a subversive genre-busting thriller about a woman who grapples with the complex dualities of motherhood—joy and dread, tenderness and anxiety—after confronting a masked intruder in her home.

There were footsteps in the other room...

So begins The Need, a sharp and haunting exploration of the joys and perils of modern motherhood. Molly is a paleobotanist who spends her days working at a fossil quarry where she sometimes unearths artefacts that defy understanding, including a controversial Bible that has recently attracted gawkers and conspiracy theorists. By night, she cares for her two young children—four-year-old Viv and one-year-old Ben—while her musician husband is away on tour. She’s frazzled, sleep-deprived, and it seems the edges of her reality blur more each day.

When she hears an intruder in the house, Molly is desperate to keep her children safe. She confronts the figure in the deer mask—and discovers that this stranger knows everything about Molly and her family. Molly fears the most sinister motives even as she reluctantly, terrifyingly, acquiesces to the intruder’s demands. What happens once she learns the true identity of the trespasser is chilling and otherworldly.

With tight, gorgeous prose and the urgent pacing of the best psychological thrillers, Helen Phillips unfurls a story that is at once cerebral and transcendent. The Need toggles between Molly’s surreal work life and her harrowing home life, excavating deep truths about modern motherhood even as it poses provocative questions about the nature of the universe and the ethics of empathy. The hopes and heartaches of parenthood exposed in these pages, coupled with the gripping sci-fi speculation, makes for a haunting, propulsive, and unforgettable read from an author The New York Times calls “breathtaking and wondrous.”

This was NOT the book I expected, but that is OKAY --- it was a freaky carousel ride into science fiction and more genres that I cannot explain. I do love Blake Crouch's (and the late, Great Michael Chrichton's) trips into science I do not personally understand so I thought that I could understand most of what was in this book. Nope. Library science is a different kind of science! (Again, that's OKAY)  What I found "lacking" was a cohesive story and a desire to finish the book ..it was OKAY, but OKAY doe not just float my boat as, as always, I have too many books on my TBR/To-Be-Read piles (physical and digital) 

I skimmed through it ... and will award it a middle of the road 2.5 rounded up to 3 ... plants.  As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by Millennials on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it 🌱🌱🌱		
			
NOTE: I cannot link this review to LinkedIn - there is something wrong with the linking/programming and it will not happen.
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I enjoyed reading this book. It had a good story to it. I liked the variety of characters in it. It is my first book read by this author. I hope to read more books by this author.
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I couldn't put this one down, I had to read it all in one go! Loved how the chapters jumped back and forth in time, increasing the anticipation of the next one. Very suspenseful. Found myself switching back and forth between who I empathized with most at the moment. The ending was a little underwhelming, and you're left with questions. Enjoyed it though!
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